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Guide to the Thomas F. De Voe Scrapbooks
circa 1720-1890 (bulk, 1850s-1880s)
 MS 3193

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer and Elise Winks

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 08, 2022
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: De Voe, Thomas F. (Thomas Farrington), 1811-1892
Title: Thomas F. De Voe scrapbooks
Dates [inclusive]: circa 1720-1890 (Bulk, 1850s-1880s)
Abstract: The collection includes 80 scrapbooks compiled by Thomas F. De Voe (1811-1892). The bulk of the content is newspaper clippings, though some other printed forms are present as well. Some material ranges as early as circa 1720 and as late as 1890, but the bulk ranges from the 1850s into the 1880s. 34 of the volumes concern New York City history (e.g., politics, built environment, cultural institutions, events, etc.); 15 volumes relate to obituaries or other profiles of notable people; 8 relate to the Civil War and other military matters; 7 concern markets; and the remaining 16 volumes are on various topics.
Quantity: 19 Linear feet in 19 boxes
Location: Materials in this collection are stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit www.nyhistory.org/library/visit.
Language: The documents in the collection are in English.
Call Phrase: MS 3193

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Biographical / Historical

Thomas F. De Voe was born in 1811 in Westchester County, New York. He apprenticed as a butcher, then operated his own business at the Jefferson Market at 6th Avenue and Christopher Street in Manhattan from 1833 to 1872. In 1840, his fellow Jefferson Market butchers chose De Voe to represent them to the city on regulatory matters. To do this work more effectively, De Voe did research, including at New-York Historical Society, where he eventually became a member. With the encouragement of N-YHS Librarian George Moore and others, De Voe turned his research into the published works he is well-known for: "The Market Book" (1862), a historical account of New York's markets, and "The Market Assistant" (1867), a description of the foods available at the markets. De Voe was also an officer of the New York State militia's 8th Regiment. In 1872, De Voe gave up his business to become New York City's Superintendent of Markets. He died in 1892.

(The above note was largely based on an article about De Voe in the Spring-Summer 2008 issue of "The Quarto," a publication of the University of Michigan's Clements Library Associates.)

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Scope and Contents

The collection includes 80 scrapbooks compiled by Thomas De Voe. The bulk of the content is newspaper clippings, though some other printed forms are present as well. Some material ranges as early as circa 1720 and as late as 1890, but the bulk ranges from the 1850s into the 1880s. A few of the volumes are indexes to scrapbooks of clippings, which may or may not be in this collection. Entries in the container list that begin with the word Index indicate these.

34 of the volumes concern either New York City history (that is, from De Voe's perspective looking back from the mid-19th century) or contemporary developments during the 1850s to 1880s. These latter volumes include a variety of subject matter about the development of New York (especially Manhattan), such as in transportation (ferries, railways, etc.), cultural institutions (museums, historical societies), infrastructure (streets), events, etc. 15 volumes relate to obituaries or other profiles of notable people, 8 relate to the Civil War and other military matters, 7 concern markets, and the remaining 16 volumes are on various topics.

Each volume is listed in the container list. Volumes that retain a title given them by De Voe are noted in "quotations." Volumes that have a title given them over time by someone at N-YHS (possibly taken from a now missing original De Voe label) are noted in [brackets]. Volumes listed with no such markings were titled by the processing archivist in 2022 for the inventory; in these cases the volume had no indication of a title and the archivist assigned one based on a skim of the content.

Arrangement

Although notations on many of the volumes suggest that there was an overall structure to at least many of De Voe's compilations, that structure is no longer fully discernible. Labeled spines are now missing, some items may have been separated from the collection, perhaps not all volumes were received by N-YHS, and other factors complicate any arrangement to original order. Consequently, the 80 volumes in this collection have been arranged roughly by subject matter as perceived by the N-YHS archivist in May 2022. The rough categories are:

Markets (7 volumes)

Obituaries (15 volumes)

Civil War and other military matters (8 volumes)

New York City historical matters (21 volumes)

New York City matters of the mid to late 19th century (13 volumes)

Miscellaneous subjects (16 volumes)

Each scrapbook was given a unique identifier (e.g., SN-1, SN-2) by the processing archivists in 2022. These are intended only to facilitate reference and are not indicative of any overall numbering scheme found in the collection itself.

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Newspaper clippings.
  • Obituaries
  • Research notes.
  • Scrapbooks.

Subject Topics

  • Markets -- New York (State) -- New York.

Subject Places

  • New York (N.Y.) -- History.
  • New York (State) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Materials in this collection are stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit www.nyhistory.org/library/visit.

Use Restrictions

Taking images of documents from the library collections for reference purposes by using hand-held cameras and in accordance with the library's photography guidelines is encouraged. As an alternative, patrons may request up to 20 images per day from staff.

Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, rightsandrepro@nyhistory.org. Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit: https://www.nyhistory.org/about/rights-reproductions

Preferred Citation

The collection should be cited as: Thomas F. De Voe scrapbooks, MS 3193, New-York Historical Society.

Related Materials

New-York Historical Society holds many collections by or related to Thomas De Voe. These can be identified by searching on De Voe's name in N-YHS's on-line catalog, Bobcat. It is likely that at least some of those documents are closely related to these scrapbooks, but were separated for item level cataloging and shelved separately at some point. Many of these separate collections relate substantially to De Voe's interest in markets.

Existence and Location of Copies

There are bound facsimiles of volumes SN-67, SN-68, SN-79, and another copy of Mariam Touba's index (see SN-68) available at the reference desk.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bequest of Thomas F. De Voe.

Processing Information

In 2019-20, as part of a broader project, archivist Elise Winks performed a high level survey of the collection and assigned unique identifiers to each volume. In 2022, archivist Larry Weimer inventoried the scrapbooks, boxing them for offsite storage, and describing them in this finding aid.

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Container List

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Offsite-Box: 9 Volume : SN-56 Markets

Scope and Contents

Includes, among others, articles about De Voe's book.

1850-1883
Offsite-Box: 11 Volume : SN-57 "Markets & Collections"

Scope and Contents

Relates especially to the beef/cattle market. Bulk is from 1854-1858.

1854-1858, 1860s
Offsite-Box: 18 Volume : SN-77 Markets

Scope and Contents

The volume holds clippings from 1854-1856. At the back of the volume is a manuscript list of notes on markets opened in New York City, 1836-1871.

1854-1856, 1870s?
Offsite-Box: 12 Volume : SN-55 New York Markets
1876-1887
Offsite-Box: 14 Volume : SN-71 New York City Markets
1864-1874
Offsite-Box: 15 Volume : SN-72 Extracts of articles on cattle, poultry, fish, etc. (manuscript )
undated
Offsite-Box: 12 Volume : SN-63 [Philadelphia Markets]
1790s-1880s
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-17 Index. "Book G." [Obituaries, 1869-1873]
1869-1873
Offsite-Box: 12 Volume : SN-66 [Obituaries, New York City & Elsewhere. Index G]
1866-1873
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-29 Index. "Obituaries of Noted Persons, 1869-1878. 37"
1869-1878
Offsite-Box: 5 Volume : SN-13 "Obituaries of Noted Persons. Index No. 37"
1869-1878
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-18 Index. "Book P. Prominent Persons Obituaries, 1866-1868"
1866-1868
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-23 Index. "U" [Obituaries, 1878-1881]
1878-1881
Offsite-Box: 6 Volume : SN-21 Obituaries
1878-1881
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-20 Index. "Obituaries, 1881-1882. 26"
1881-1882
Offsite-Box: 7 Volume : SN-19 Obituaries

Scope and Contents

The bulk of this volume holds clippings about the assassination of President James Garfield.

1881-1882
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-28 Index. "Obituaries, 1881-1883. 3"
1881-1883
Offsite-Box: 3 Volume : SN-27 "Obituaries from 1881-1883"
1881-1883
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-15 "Index to No. 39. Obituaries, 1884-1886"
1884-1886
Offsite-Box: 6 Volume : SN-22 Obituaries
1884-1886
Offsite-Box: 16 Volume : SN-75 Obituaries
1886-1889
Offsite-Box: 17 Volume : SN-74 Obituaries
1887-1891
Offsite-Box: 1 Volume : SN-10 [Military clippings. #19]
1854-1855
Offsite-Box: 10 Volume : SN-43 New York State Militia/National Guard

Scope and Contents

Includes, among other subjects, articles on yellow fever quarantine on Staten Island.

1857-1860
Offsite-Box: 10 Volume : SN-44 New York State Militia/National Guard

Scope and Contents

Primarily holds articles about the Civil War

1860-1862
Offsite-Box: 14 Volume : SN-70 New York State Militia/National Guard
1863-1880s
Offsite-Box: 14 Volume : SN-69 Civil War

Scope and Contents

The clippings all date from the 1860s. There is one drawing of the Statue of Liberty, dated 1886.

1861-1863, 1886
Offsite-Box: 14 Volume : SN-49 Civil War

Scope and Contents

Principally about the Civil War and later reminiscences.

1860s-1880s
Offsite-Box: 11 Volume : SN-45 Civil War and New York City current events
1854, 1861-1870
Offsite-Box: 8 Volume : SN-39 [Military & Naval Clippings] & Theatre
1879-1890
Offsite-Box: 18 Volume : SN-79 "Index to Historical Incidents from Newspapers, 1696-1800"; "Index to Names of Persons from Newspapers, 1696-1800"

Scope and Contents

These appear to be alphabetical subject indexes to the chronology above (SN-67). There is a bound facsimile of this volume available at the reference desk.

undated
Offsite-Box: 16 Volume : SN-67 "Historical Incidents from Newspapers I, 1696-1800" (manuscript)

Scope and Contents

The volume is a year by year chronology of events, in manuscript form, abstracted by De Voe from newspapers. There are letters related to the De Voe collection generally, attached to the back cover. There is a bound facsimile of this volume available at the reference desk.

undated
Offsite-Box: 16 Volume : SN-68 "Historical Incidents from Newspapers II, 1800-1850" (manuscript)

Scope and Contents

This volume has the same general content as I (SN-67) above. This box also holds a related draft index for the years 1800-1810 prepared by N-YHS reference librarian Mariam Touba. There is a bound facsimile of this volume and a copy of Touba's index available at the reference desk.

undated
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-53 Index. "Miscellaneous scraps from 1720-1828. 100"
undated
Offsite-Box: 4 Volume : SN-34 "Miscellaneous scraps, 1720-1828"

Scope and Contents

This volume holds original clippings. SN-53 may be an index to this volume.

1720-1828
Offsite-Box: 1 Volume : SN-1 to SN-9 "History of New York" (9 volumes)

Scope and Contents

These volumes hold clippings of compilations about New York City history by "DTV" (David T. Valentine). The original source of the clippings is not explicit, except for 1868-70, which are from Valentine's Manual of the Corporation of New York City; this is the likely source for most or all of the other clippings in these 9 volumes.

1851-1870
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-31 Index. "Olden Time in New York. Bacon. T" [1-123]
undated
Offsite-Box: 3 Volume : SN-30 "Cuttings. T" [Index T. New York in the Olden Time by J.B. Bacon. 1-123]
undated
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-42 Index. "F" [Old New York, 1870-1875]
1870-1875
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-52 Old New York-related clippings
1876-1877
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-41 Index. "Old New York. 61"
undated
Offsite-Box: 3 Volume : SN-33 [Old New York #7, 1871-1875]
1871-1875
Offsite-Box: 9 Volume : SN-32 New York City history
1860s-1880s
Offsite-Box: 15 Volume : SN-73 General clippings about New York

Scope and Contents

Holds clippings about catastrophes, current events, city development, etc.

1849-1861
Offsite-Box: 18 Volume : SN-78 General clippings about New York
1853-1863
Offsite-Box: 18 Volume : SN-76 General clippings about New York
1863-1873
Offsite-Box: 3 Volume : SN-14 General clippings about New York City
1869-1875
Offsite-Box: 1 Volume : SN-12 General clippings about New York City
1870-1875
Offsite-Box: 17 Volume : SN-64 General clippings about New York
1871-1885
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-40 "Index. Streets, Lanes, Roads, etc., Wharves & Piers. No. 43"
undated
Offsite-Box: 4 Volume : SN-38 "New York City covering Manhattan Island, newspaper clippings, 1877-1890"
1877-1890
Offsite-Box: 6 Volume : SN-46 Miscellaneous, especially theatre/stage

Scope and Contents

Many pages of a cash journal from 1868-1869 are visible in this volume as, unlike other volumes, it was not entirely covered over with clippings.

1868-1869, 1881-1890
Offsite-Box: 8 Volume : SN-25 General clippings about New York
1851-1858, 1866-1870
Offsite-Box: 5 Volume : SN-11 "Andrew H. Green for Mayor; Trials of Prominent Persons; New York City"

Scope and Contents

The volume especially holds clippings about the Albert D. Richardson murder (1869) and the Henry Ward Beecher-Elizabeth Tilton matter (1870s). There is only a little about Andrew H. Green.

1869-1889
Offsite-Box: 13 Volume : SN-65 New York City and State Politics

Scope and Contents

Holds articles about Boss Tweed, Tammany Hall, city charter, legislation, etc.

1871-1872
Offsite-Box: 7 Volume : SN-16 Miscellaneous, especially politics

Scope and Contents

Holds clippings on Boss Tweed, Tammany Hall, Andrew Green, etc. Holds the lengthy reminiscences of the former New York mayor M.M. Noah.

1875-1878
Offsite-Box: 12 Volume : SN-62 Catastrophes

Scope and Contents

Articles about ship sinkings, fires, weather, murders, riots, etc.

1846-1873
Offsite-Box: 4 Volume : SN-47 [E. Strikes & Riots, 1877]
1877
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-48 "United States. E" [Strikes & Riots, 1877]
1877
Offsite-Box: 8 Volume : SN-24 [Catastrophes. 13]

Scope and Contents

The clippings' geographic range extends beyond New York.

1880-1888
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-60 "J" [Churches & Ministers, 1874-1883]
1874-1883
Offsite-Box: 4 Volume : SN-37 Churches and other houses of religious worship, clergy
1870s-1880s
Offsite-Box: 12 Volume : SN-59 Churches and other houses of religious worship, and clergy

Scope and Contents

The clippings in the volume date from 1883-1890. Many pages were not covered in clippings and so the underlying content is readable. It presumably pertains to the firm S. Judd's Sons & Co., the name embossed on the volume's cover. Entries from 1863 and the 1870s concern the creditworthiness of various companies. For 1863, these are New York State companies; for the 1870s, companies elsewhere in the United States.

1863-1890
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-36 Index. "O. Historical Items & Obituaries, etc., 1858-1874"
1858-1874
Offsite-Box: 4 Volume : SN-35 [Historical Items & Obituaries, etc., 1858-1874]
1858-1874
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-50 Index. "Personal in New York, 1875, 1879. 55"
1875, 1879
Offsite-Box: 3 Volume : SN-26 Various clippings about people and events

Scope and Contents

Holds obituaries and other articles about people, portraits of clergy, and various events. Geographic range goes beyond New York.

1860s-1870s
Offsite-Box: 4 Volume : SN-54 Clippings about current events
1854-1870, 1883-1889
Offsite-Box: 2 Volume : SN-51 Index. "71" [Brooklyn Newspapers]
undated
Offsite-Box: 13 Volume : SN-80 Miscellaneous

Scope and Contents

Holds articles about travel description, current events, speeches, international matters, etc.

1860s-1880s
Offsite-Box: 11 Volume : SN-58 Miscellaneous

Scope and Contents

This volume was found on the shelves in 2022 with the De Voe scrapbooks, but it may not be one of his. The volume holds various articles, many concerning slavery and other topical matters. Many of the articles are signed "Sigma" and are from the Daily Evening Traveler. A table of contents is at the front. There appears to be an accession date of March 18, 1897, on the cover, which would include it among the many donations made that day by Daniel Parish.

1850s-1860s
Offsite-Box: 12 Volume : SN-61 Miscellaneous

Scope and Contents

Holds mostly clippings of the series "Letters from New York" signed by "Roscoe" to the "Editors of the Traveller" (i.e., Daily Evening Traveller of Boston). There are also clippings of reviews and other articles about R.G. Horton's "Life & Public Service of James Buchanan."

1854-1857
Offsite-Box: 19 Loose book spines

Scope and Contents

Several book spines with labels that had loose from the original volumes. These were found shelved separately after the collection had been boxed for storage and so were not (and perhaps cannot be) matched to the related volumes.

undated

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